Seasonal Banners on TWPT courtesy of Mickie Mueller

Articles Page

 

Flame RavenHawk

 

 War & Pacifism: America vs. Iraq
by Flame RavenHawk

©February 2003


Wicca does not dictate matters of conscience as it relates to war.  Like vegetarianism, we span the spectrum of taste.  

Personally, I am a devout pacifist.  I believe that war is never a good option, and it is the last resort of the weak and foolish.  Human conflict is always avoidable, but narrow-minded self-interest usually traps individuals and nations on courses of self-destruction.  War is a bloody, destructive, useless way to resolve a conflict.  The end of active hostility does not equal peace. Waging peace through compromise and compassion is far harder, but more sustainable. 

It's hard to be a true pacifist in this current climate.  People tend to think I'm the one who doesn't fully understand the situation.  They delight in testing my resolve by giving me horrific examples of a "bad person harming my children" as a way to rouse me (with the natural consequence that if I still refuse to play the "what-if" scenario, I must be a bad mother.)  And my favorite... "If you don't believe in war, what about Hitler?"  (My answer: what about all those years we knew he was killing his own people, and did nothing to stop it... until Japan bombed us and jabbed us right in our "self-interest"?)  

I think that causing the unwilling death of another person is wrong.  Thou Shalt Not Kill is found in nearly every major religious tradition.  It's one of the few moral absolutes that we all agree on.   Being an "absolute" means that it's not conditional.  Wrong is wrong, and making it sound pretty doesn't make it any less wrong.  Personal self-defense is the only situation that would allow it, if your own life were in immediate danger. (Even then, I personally would have a hard time killing, but I would grant another's right to self-defense.)  

Saddam Hussein and the government of Iraq is in no way personally endangering anyone in the USA.  To take offensive action and attack Iraq in this way is completely unjustifiable, morally reprehensible, and would cause unforgivable death to non-involved civilians.  (Because of 12 years of sanctions, Iraq's population is one food shipment short of starvation and disease.  Even a brief war would cause an incredible death toll to the civilian population, without ever seeing a single bullet.)  

I think President Bush has a whole hatful of ulterior motives.  He's the son of a politically powerful family with numerous business connections world-wide, he's got personal friends at the head of many major industries (and let’s not forget that he's an Oil man, through and through), and he's got a domestic economy that is falling apart around his ears.  Bush has got nothing to lose, but plenty to gain if he's successful in getting his war with Iraq.  This war, sadly, has nothing to do with
morals. Frankly, those who are beating the drum for war need to reexamine what "morals" means.  

Then there's the whole political analysis of the situation.  Nearly every major European nation, except our cousins in the British government, is turning their back on America.  They consider us to be global bullies who are only interested in controlling global markets to expand our own considerable dominance of the global economy.  This goal of global
economic dominance is clearly defined by the Bush administration as one of their driving goals in world politics.  It's not even a shameful secret!  Our government really is trying to take over world markets!  Every single European country knows this, has read our government’s international policy statement, and is appalled.  We Americans haven't really seen that policy statement, because the media glossed over it when it was released.  This ignorance of our stated foreign policy is compounded by the superficial belief that we should dominate world economics.  It's no wonder that Europe is shunning us like a bad case of crabs.  It's no wonder that they all think we're picking a fight with Iraq because of Oil.  Every other nation in the region believes it too, and they should bloody-well know.  They actually live there, their economies revolve around that one product, and they truly understand the situation better than the typical American.  

Imagine for a moment that America was the only place that coffee beans grew.  Imagine we had a global corner on the coffee market, and the whole world is addicted.  We control the price and availability of the beans, and we decide who to sell to and when.  Now let's imagine that Italy, lovers of  Latte and Espresso, decide suddenly that they don't like how
America is treating black minorities in America.  They cite the long history of slavery and the continuing atmosphere of discrimination, and point to the current prison population having a disproportionate number of black people.  Italy
becomes "outraged" at our repressive government, and how it's killing it's minority populations on Death Row.  Italy decides that they will need to act as world police and overthrow the current American government.  They will kindly provide an "interim government" to help stabilize the situation, and by the way, they'll use the profits of the coffee market to "offset the costs" of this “reorganization”.  

Now, wouldn't we all step up and say, "Wait a second... you're only doing this because you want a share of our coffee
market. You're not really interested in the status of our minorities..."?  Taking the moral high ground, Italy would say it’s not about the coffee.   Well, it might be hard to prove, wouldn't it? Especially since we really are guilty of treating our
minority populations so poorly?  

Remind me, Mr. Bush... Iraq is a threat to me how?  Saddam Hussein might be a nasty dictator who treats his own people badly.  Fine.  If those people ask, I'd be pleased to help them in whatever ways they ask so that they may determine their own future.  "Sovereignty" means that every single nation has the right to decide for themselves how they shall be ruled.
Americans do not have the right to determine or tamper with another nation's sovereignty.  Ever.  No nation has the authority to decide such matters for another, and the fact that Bush seems to think he can, and should, is frankly ominous.  Those are the attitudes held by dictators, not democracies. 

The only way Bush can get Americans to support his war effort is to bypass logic, reason, and morality, and appeal directly to emotional gut reactions.  If  he makes it sound like Hussein is the embodiment of evil, that America will suffer personal, immediate harm, and that we're the saviors of the world, we might go for it.  And just in case we're starting to question things a bit too closely, he'll grab hold of 9-11 and yank our emotional chain some more.  (By the way, Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden are mortal enemies... they each consider the other to be "infidels" and "enemy of the faith"... they're highly unlikely to be secretly working together. Even our own CIA has told us that there is no connection between Iraq and Al Queda.)  

So... we're going to war why?  

Wage peace. It's harder than waging war, but the results last longer.  

~Flame RavenHawk

January 27, 2003 

Flame RavenHawk is a writer who has been teaching Shamanic Wicca for over a decade.  Professionally, she teaches reading in a public High School, and her hobbies include Yoga, Drumming (Middle Eastern Doumbek), Poetry, Gardening, and Cultural Anthropology.  A collection of her articles and writings can now be found at her website,
Flame’s Firepit, 
http://www.flamesfirepit.org/